Land Rover Steps Up for Wild Life Con­ser­va­tion

Diplomat East Africa - - Diplospeak - PAUL UDOTO re­ports

Land Rover has agreed to a ma­jor new spon­sor­ship with the Born Free Foun­da­tion, one of the world’s fore­most wildlife char­i­ties, con­tin­u­ing its suc­cess­ful Global Con­ser­va­tion Part­ner­ship first forged in 2002 and con­firm­ing Born Free as its pri­mary global con­ser­va­tion part­ner.

The Born Free Foun­da­tion is a dy­namic in­ter­na­tional wildlife char­ity, de­voted to com­pas­sion­ate con­ser­va­tion and an­i­mal wel­fare. Born Free takes ac­tion world­wide to pro­tect threat­ened species and stop in­di­vid­ual an­i­mal suf­fer­ing.

The Born Free Foun­da­tion was founded by the ac­tors Bill Travers and Vir­ginia McKenna OBE in 1984. Although based in the UK, its um­bil­i­cal cord was buried in the Kenyan soil owing its links to George and Joy Adam­son and the clas­sic wildlife film Born Free film. The film im­mor­talised the ex­tra­or­di­nary true tale of Elsa the li­on­ess and George and Joy Adam­son’s bat­tle to re­turn her to the wild.

The ori­gin of Land Rover’s his­toric as­so­ci­a­tion with Born Free goes back to the be­gin­ning where Land Rovers were fea­tured in the film, star­ring the Foun­da­tion’s founders, Vir­ginia McKenna and Bill Travers, which was acted in Kenya.

The re­quire­ment was then as it is now to rely on the Land Rover ve­hi­cles to reach the wildlife in the most re­mote of lo­ca­tions. The film is cred­ited with putting Kenya on the global tourism and con­ser­va­tion map.

Since 1948, Land Rover has been man­u­fac­tur­ing au­then­tic 4x4s that rep­re­sent true breadth of ca­pa­bil­ity across the model range. De­fender, Free­lander, Dis­cov­ery, Range Rover Sport, Range Rover and Range Rover Evoque each de­fine the world’s 4x4 sec­tors. Land Rover prod­ucts are cur­rently sold in about 180 global mar­kets.

Land Rover has ex­pressed com­mit­ment to con­tin­u­ing to pro­vide the Foun­da­tion with prac­ti­cal help by sup­ply­ing ve­hi­cles as well as fi­nan­cial back­ing for the next five years, re­flect­ing its in­te­grated ap­proach to build­ing global sus­tain­abil­ity.

The new spon­sor­ship pro­gramme will see Land Rover ve­hi­cles de­ployed by the Born Free Foun­da­tion in Kenya, In­dia and South Africa where they support the char­ity’s vi­tal field work. Ad­di­tional support will as­sist con­ser­va­tion and wild an­i­mal wel­fare ini­tia­tives in other parts of Africa and south­ern Asia while in the UK, where the char­ity is based, Born Free Land Rovers as­sist with lo­gis­ti­cal support and char­ity am­bas­sador du­ties.

It was de­scribed by The Times as “Big Enough to make a dif­fer­ence but small enough to care”. To­day, led by the cou­ple’s son Will Travers, Born Free takes ac­tion world­wide to save wild an­i­mal lives, stop suf­fer­ing, res­cue in­di­vid­u­als and pro­tect species.

The Foun­da­tion is a dy­namic, in­ter­na­tional wildlife char­ity, de­voted to com­pas­sion­ate con­ser­va­tion and an­i­mal wel­fare and was founded by ac­tors Bill Travers and Vir­ginia McKenna OBE in 1984.

The Born Free Foun­da­tion was founded in 1984 by ac­tors and wildlife cam­paign­ers Bill Travers and Vir­ginia McKenna, who were in­spired by their in­volve­ment in the 1960’s clas­sic film Born Free. To­day the char­ity is led by their son Will and it has be­come a global force for com­pas­sion­ate con­ser­va­tion. Work­ing on the prin­ci­ple of car­ing for wildlife in the wild, its ac­tiv­i­ties not only pro­tect some of the world’s most at-risk species, but also raise aware­ness of how peo­ple and wildlife can bet­ter co-ex­ist.

Land Rover’s on-go­ing part­ner­ship will help sus­tain some of the Foun­da­tion’s most im­por­tant projects. In Kenya, a fleet of Land Rover De­fend­ers en­ables its teams, work­ing with the Kenya Wildlife Ser­vice, to reach re­mote ar­eas to ap­pre­hend poach­ers and re­move deadly traps. Dur­ing times of se­vere drought, the Land Rovers have also pro­vided a life­line, bring­ing food to an­i­mals in dan­ger of star­va­tion.

The fate of the African lion and the char­ity are in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked, they fea­ture Elsa the li­on­ess on their logo and the true story of her jour­ney to free­dom in­spires ev­ery­thing the char­ity does. The Born Free story has been en­joyed by tens of mil­lions around the globe, in­spir­ing a gen­er­a­tion and chang­ing the world’s at­ti­tude to wildlife for­ever.

In 2002, Born Free es­tab­lished an of­fice in Kenya to co­or­di­nate support for projects in the re­gion. Th­ese in­clude ele­phant stud­ies in Am­boseli and Mount El­gon, support of the Kenya Wildlife Ser­vice ele­phant and gi­raffe re­lo­ca­tion team and vet unit, lion con­flict res­o­lu­tion, anti-poach­ing pa­trols, snare re­moval, bush­meat aware­ness, leg­isla­tive re­form and pro­tect­ing the Mount Kenya and Tsavo/ Mko­mazi eco-sys­tems.

The char­ity, in col­lab­o­ra­tion

Land Rover’s on-go­ing part­ner­ship will help sus­tain some of the Foun­da­tion’s most im­por­tant projects. In Kenya, a fleet of Land Rover De­fend­ers en­ables its teams, work­ing with the Kenya Wildlife Ser­vice, to reach re­mote ar­eas to ap­pre­hend poach­ers and re­move deadly traps

with Kenya Wildlife Ser­vice and the lo­cal Maa­sai com­mu­nity, has sup­ported the con­struc­tion of about 65 lion-proof bo­mas in Am­boseli. The com­mu­nity mem­bers now pro­mote peace­ful co-ex­is­tence be­tween preda­tors and peo­ple and no longer see the need for re­tal­ia­tory killing of car­ni­vores. Kenya Air­ways this year joined forces with the char­ity to raise funds for wildlife con­ser­va­tion in Kenya and across Africa. This year Kenya marks the 24th an­niver­sary of the death of George Adam­son.

In Ethiopia Land Rover De­fend­ers are de­ployed as part of the Born Free Foun­da­tion’s ef­forts to pro­tect the world’s rarest wolf species, while in South Africa the ve­hi­cles are es­sen­tial tools for the team at its two Big Cat Res­cue Cen­tres, based at Shamwari, East­ern Cape. Fur­ther ve­hi­cle support helps make a dif­fer­ence in Malawi, where the Foun­da­tion helps re­ha­bil­i­tate mon­keys res­cued from the il­le­gal pet trade, and in Sri Lanka, where a spe­cially-mod­i­fied De­fender is able to reach and res­cue or­phaned baby ele­phants and other an­i­mals from the most chal­leng­ing lo­ca­tions.

Mark Cameron Land Rover Global Brand Ex­pe­ri­ence Di­rec­tor said: “Over the past decade we have en­joyed a suc­cess­ful and re­ward­ing part­ner­ship with the Born Free Foun­da­tion, not least in be­ing able to pro­vide it with ve­hi­cles that have the strength and abil­ity to work in some of the world’s most re­mote and de­mand­ing en­vi­ron­ments. We have seen what a dif­fer­ence the Foun­da­tion can make, not just in the res­cue, care and pro­tec­tion of big cats and many other en­dan­gered species, but also in spread­ing aware­ness about how peo­ple can adapt their lives and at­ti­tudes to en­sure a sus­tain­able fu­ture for man and wildlife alike.

“By re­new­ing our Global Con­ser­va­tion Part­ner­ship with the Born Free Foun­da­tion, we look for­ward to help­ing its teams un­der­take around the world to con­tinue and ex­tend the ex­cel­lent work they do.”

Will Travers OBE, CEO of the Born Free Foun­da­tion, said: “The Born Free Foun­da­tion is on the front line of con­ser­va­tion and wild an­i­mal wel­fare and to get us to that front line we rely on Land Rovers. It is es­sen­tial not only that we can get in to some truly chal­leng­ing lo­ca­tions but that we can suc­cess­fully carry out our mis­sion and get out. Safety, se­cu­rity and re­li­a­bil­ity are paramount. That is why, on be­half of Born Free and our sup­port­ers all around the world, I am deeply ap­pre­cia­tive of this re­newed support and de­lighted that our vi­tal part­ner­ship with Land Rover goes from strength to strength. “

For more in­for­ma­tion about the Born Free Foun­da­tion and its world­wide ac­tiv­i­ties visit www. born­free.org.uk

“Mak­ing the film in Kenya had a tremen­dous im­pact. Bill and I learned to love lions and love Africa. Guided by George and Joy we be­gan to un­der­stand how ev­ery an­i­mal is in­di­vid­ual and that wild an­i­mals be­long in the wild.”

Born Free ac­tress Vir­ginia McKenna OBE with writer Paul Udoto

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